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NJ Attorney General Announces Takedown of Newark Drug Distribution Network; 13 Firearms Seized

By kcora on

Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal announced today that the Division of Criminal Justice charged five defendants with firearms and drug trafficking offenses following a major law enforcement operation led by the New Jersey State Police. 

Among the items seized during the operation were 13 firearms, including 2 AR-15 rifles, 10 handguns, and one shotgun, as well as heroin with a street value of more than $330,000.

The eight-month investigation, dubbed “Operation Drive Thru,” began in April 2018 and targeted a drug distribution network operating in Newark. The investigation included detectives from the New Jersey State Police’s Crime Suppression North Unit and the Newark Police Department.

“Every day, our state and local law enforcement officers are working to keep New Jersey’s residents safe from harm,” said Attorney General Grewal. “Today’s arrests are a great example of the close partnership we’ve forged between the New Jersey State Police and local law enforcement such as the Newark Police Department, and it shows our commitment to protecting residents from illegal firearms and dangerous drugs.”

According to authorities, on Dec. 12th detectives from the multiple New Jersey State Police units – including the Crime Suppression North Unit, T.E.A.M.S Unit, Gangs and Organized Crime North Unit, Trafficking North Unit, Fugitive Unit, and K-9 Unit – as well as officers of the Newark Police Department and United States Marshals Service executed multiple search warrants in Newark.

As a result of the operation, detectives arrested the five suspects at various locations and seized the following:

111,500 individually packaged envelopes of heroin, valued at $334,000;

613 grams of cocaine, valued at $45,000;

462 grams of crack cocaine, valued at $34,000;

565 grams of marijuana, valued at $5,650;

443 grams of other suspected drugs;

13 firearms, including two AR-15s;

$151,000 in cash; and

Three vehicles including a 2015 BMW sedan, 2007 Acura RL, and 2012 Cadillac CTS.

"Just as deadly as the cache of weapons seized as a result of this operation is the massive quantity of narcotics taken off of the streets, which included 111,500 potentially lethal doses of heroin," said Colonel Patrick Callahan of the New Jersey State Police. "Partnerships with cooperating law enforcement agencies in narcotic operations like 'Drive Thru' are without question making our communities safer, and I commend the outstanding work of all of agencies involved."

“We will continue to partner with the New Jersey State Police and federal and local law enforcement agencies to investigate and prosecute those who profit from addiction and bring guns into our communities,” said Veronica Allende, Director of the Division of Criminal Justice.

“The seizure of two assault rifles, a tactical shotgun and 10 handguns, along with over 110,000 decks of heroin and more than 1,000 grams of cocaine, means that our streets are safer as a result of these arrests,” Newark Public Safety Director Anthony F. Ambrose said. “I am grateful for our partnership with the New Jersey State Police in the successful conclusion of this operation. We will continue working with our federal, state and county law enforcement partners to remove illegal guns and drugs from our neighborhoods.”

The following suspects were arrested and charged:

Dashon Coleman, 36, of Newark

Possession with intent to distribute CDS Possession of a firearm while committing a CDS offense

Unlawful possession of a firearm

Money laundering

Certain person not to have weapons

Various other CDS and weapons offenses


Hashawn Landrum, 39, of Newark

Possession with intent to distribute CDS

Possession of a firearm while committing a CDS offense

Certain person not to have weapons

Various other CDS offenses


Quameer Elamin, 26, of Newark

Conspiracy to distribute CDS

Possession of a firearm while committing a CDS offense

Various other CDS offenses


Lamon Thomas, 46, of Newark

Possession with intent to distribute CDS

Possession of CDS


Keena Bryant, 28, of Wilkes-Barre, P.A.

Possession with intent to distribute CDS

Officials at all suspects were lodged at the Essex County Jail pending a detention hearing.

Charges are mere accusations and the accused are considered innocent until proven guilty.